'True Blood' season four spoilers from Alan Ball -- well, just a few
The upcoming season of "True Blood" will borrow at least some of its key plot points from "Dead to the World," the fourth novel in mystery writer Charlaine Harris' long-running series about telepathic cocktail waitress/fairy Sookie Stackhouse and the supernatural creatures vying for her affection in Bon Temps, La.
But Alan Ball, the creator of the hit HBO series adapted from Harris' fiction, wasn't too generous with the gory details at the Paley Center for Media's PaleyFest's tribute to the hit show this weekend at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, especially when it came to questions about just how a potential romance between Anna Paquin's Sookie and Alexander Skarsgard's vampire Eric Northman might play out.
Still, the wildly devoted fans assembled for the event didn't seem to mind. The clip Ball showed from the season premiere, which is set for June, and the presence of 16 of the series' cast members -- including Paquin and her off-screen husband Stephen Moyer, in addition to Skarsgard -- were more than sufficient to generate deafening applause.
The brief scene, which screened after a lengthy opening montage that recapped the previous three seasons, centered on Pam (Kristin Bauer) and a reunited Hoyt (Jim Parrack) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) confronting a group of Westboro Baptist Church-style protesters picketing Fangtasia. Afterward, each of the actors took turns explaining where season four finds his or her character. Of Sookie, Paquin said, "She's been on a bit of an adventure, she comes back. She's still very new to all this fairy stuff."
Eric, though, is rather different than he's been in previous seasons. "He's completely lost and he doesn't know who he is. This powerful character is just gone," Skarsgard said, noting cryptically, "Eric needs help… there are a lot of friendly people in Bon Temps who are kind enough to help Eric."
In terms of the rest of Bon Temps residents, Rutina Wesley's Tara will find some stability after a harrowing couple of seasons, Nelsan Elils' Lafayette is "under the spell" of his boyfriend Jesus (Kevin Alejandro), Chris Bauer's Sheriff Andy Bellefleur will likely begin to experiment with V and Sam Trammell's shape-shifting bar owner Sam will get another chance at love, though the odds of things working out, he said, were "slim."
Ball chimed in saying of his characters, "They can only be happy for one episode."
While Ball declined to say if it would happen Season 4, he did confirm that Denis O'Hare would return as vampire king Russell Edgington. "We specifically made the choice not to kill him," Ball said. (The same can't be said, it seems, for Evan Rachel Wood's Queen Sophie-Anne, whose absence from the panel was noted.)
Ball also confirmed that Gary Cole and Fiona Shaw will guest star, and that there will be more new characters introduced including some witches, some shifters, a new werewolf, "a couple of humans and a child."
Viewers also can expect plenty of flashbacks that take advantage of the fact that the show has characters who've lived for hundreds or some in cases thousands of years, he said; Skarsgard and Kristin Bauer put in a plea for scenes that would flesh out Eric and Pam's backstory, a suggestion that went over well with the crowd. Whether those flashbacks will be a part of Season 4, only time will tell.
-- Gina McIntyre
Photo: Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgard in Season 3 of "True Blood" Credit: HBO